Subterfuge, Snow and Second Chances


abby4_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Subterfuge, Snow and Second Chances
Synopsis Abby gives Francois coffee and company while he spies on a Vanguard lead, or tries to.
Date November 27, 2009

Russia: Outside Ryazan University

It's snowing. Quelle suprise. This doesn't dissuade Francois from leaving before breakfast and dragging his feet all the way down to the university, although not quite near the university. Maybe he should ask Ivan and Katarina for a car to hide in, but for now, he's leaning against a tree and trying to convince himself that the stunning cold is waking him up. Naturally good at holding his liquor, no matter how many glasses of wine he had suffered through last night to make it more palatable, the mild hang over is lingering at the corners of his mind in a static buzz of a nuisance.

Still, he doesn't let his attention drift overly much. With a cigarette between his fingers that's wasting away more than he's breathing it in, allowing that to be his excuse to stand where he is, he watches those that drift in during the morning hours - professors among them, but not the one he's searching for. Snow dots in dark hair, peppers his black coat, stings his toes within his sturdy boots.

Pink hair is hidden, strands tucked under her toque so as to not garner attention unwanted, from whomever. From behind and to the left, comes the crunch of snow underfoot heralding the arrival of someone. "I brought you coffee. It's not starbucks but, it'll do" A blue cardboard cup is waggled out to the man as she falls into place behind the tree. backpack over her shoulder to make it look like she's a student and not some american who's with the frenchman spying.

At the sound of someone's approach, Francois darts a stiff-necked glance over one shoulder, before relaxing. The cigarette is abandoned, left to fizzle out into dead ash in damp ice. He's not really a smoker, though he'd started at one point. Before the world learned that it was bad for you, anyway. "Merci. You make it sound like Starbucks would be preferable."

Snobbishness over coffee is Italy's thing, to be fair, but there's nothing wrong in sharing, especially seeing as it had been the Englishman to produce the merlot last night. He takes the cup from her, curling long fingers around it as he sends a smile her way. "You have come out to keep my company?"

"I finished the dishes at the house, was antsy, so I borrowed a car. I'm supposed to go with Cat later to meet this Doctor" Whether the coffee is better than starbucks or not? "It's better. I'm a coffee snob, self professed. Comes from years of drinking it to get the caffeine from it so that I could heal. But, this is pretty good, it's a French Roast. no sign of the professor?" She glances around the tree towards the slow plod of people heading to work or class.

Bracing his back against bark, Francois steadies his feet so that heels don't slip out from under him in an undignified splay of limbs and scalding coffee splashed everywhere. Lifting off the plastic lid, blowing a cooling stream of air across the surface, he shrugs a shoulder at her question as he replaces the cap once more. "Not today. I thought I saw him— " He hesitates, a line at his brow as he furrows it in thought, taking a measured sip of coffee. Once done, he continues, "I thought I saw him once, going home. I didn't follow, but I've resolved to do so next time."

"Just be careful yes? It'd.. I'd be sad if anything happened. What with, you know, cheating death, going back in time and bringing you here. So much left to do in life. More dinosaurs to kill" She offers up at smile and a wink at the last as she mimic's his own motions with the coffee. "Give us a call when you do too so that we know if you don't show up, to look for you"

Mention of dinosaurs gets a sharp and suspicious glance up, before a mildly crooked smile accompanies it, almost shy. "Oh, I will have to kill him," is said through that smile as he brings his coffee back up to sip, and he isn't talking about Dreyfus. Resting his head against bark, he gives the barest minimal nod of assent to her request, though can't help but add; "You shouldn't worry about me. Sneaking and spying and gathering information is all I have done for a long time. He may have killed me, but only because he knew I was there to kill. And he was not an old man."

"Not his fault you talk in your sleep" Abigail in unawares of the extent of Teo's ability. Dream herding for the former blonde hasn't really been needed since she's a customer, in some sense, of Hokuto and the woman has trained her to flee for the safety of the south in her dreams. "Besides, Dinosaurs is good. Better than glowing eye'd men"

Yet, Francois speaks the truth, he's been at this subterfuge and secrecy since before she was even born. "You have me on that count, it's only been a year for me, and even then, I stayed behind and waited at the door to lay hands on folks when they returned" She turns her cup this way and that in her hands, keeping an eye out for the professor in question. "we'll have to compare skills some day, of our time with it."

Letting Abby take the look out for now, Francois pays attention more to the black-on-white shapes of bare branches above him making spindly web patterns against the pale sky, even as he responds to her with a chuckle at the back of his throat. "It, oui. It's unfortunate, that you didn't get to have it as long as you did, and master it for your own benefit as well as that of others."

Belatedly realising that— this line of response may be insensitive, he lowers his gaze back towards her and tilts his head in some apology. "Not that it isn't a burden as well. I'm sure you noticed in my writing that I did not always have it very easy, regardless.

"And it is Teo's fault that he told," he thinks to counter, if a little late.

Another point abby will concede that Teo tattled so it is his fault. "Never a burden, not even when I was stuck in Staten Island. Or if it was one, well, one I was glad to bear for the help that it would bring to others and ease their suffering" She glances over her shoulder towards him, part of her view obstructed by the fur trim of her parka before she's back to studying people. She's good with faces. Comes from the bar and the diner.

"I called it healing the easy way, that what I'm doing now is healing the hard way. I have a friend who would say that no, it's the other way, hard and now it's easy but, he's not the one taking the classes" Was taking the classes. She scuffs a winter boot into the snow at the foot of the tree, scraping the white flakes against a root. "I had it long enough I guess. Long enough to do what god wanted me to do with it. My last act was to give one of the turncoat members of the vanguard back his hand"

What Hiro wanted her to do with it, but Francois doesn't get that far, just sips coffee, allows it to warm him as he huddles beneath his coat, and looks back towards the university as milling students start to thicken the sparse crowd. "It is healing the easy way," he agrees. "Though there are some sicknesses we cannot touch. Blood diseases, infections. And also when the edge of death is too close, so much so it feels like it could take you with it It is worse when you lose someone that way. But when you are only a doctor— death becomes a likelier thing. Who was he? The Vanguard turncoat."

Hiro hadn't met Abigail then, he hadn't know the gift she posessed. "Amato Salucci. He refused me, self punishment I think, but he called one day. He said he would, if I could find it in my heart to forgive him. That it would not be as good as gods but that I was the closest he'd come to finding an innocent on the face of earth, something of that sort, is that him?" A discreet gesture to some man, carting around a briefcase. But he turns enough and there's a wriggle of her nose. "Not him"

There's no recognition in Francois' eyes for the name, but he listens avidly all the same, as if it were a subject of great interest. And in a sense, it is. What turns hearts to and from Volken? Inquiring minds. But the subject is abandoned like a hot coal when Abby asks that question, only to shake his head. "«Not him»," is spoken in French at the same time as her English, and he relaxes back against the tree.

"I would like to talk to Monsieur Salucci sometime, if he is still in New York, when we return. Perhaps you can introduce me."

"If I can find him. Ferrymen might know where he is" Abigail relaxes enough to tend to her coffee, take a few sips of the cooled liquid.

"I'm sorry for Flint. That night you were brought back, that's, that's not normally like him. He's having a hard time with the gift. It's.." It's just not going good, and she feels the need to defend him. "He'd never done that before to me."

Defense is met with an infuriatingly kind brand of cynicism on Francois' face, and silence that follows before he nods once. "You know him better than I, but just because it is the first time does not excuse it. Have you forgiven him, or are you— simply trying to paint a better picture for me?"

Abigail doesn't quite meet his eyes, taking the opportunity to watch for the individual, instead of looking Francois in the eyes. "I left him a letter, before we left. Maybe he got it, maybe he didn't. I don't forgive him. But he's getting only that one chance. If it happens again, i'm walking away no matter how badly it'll break my heart"

She stomps her feet, keeping circulation going. "I suppose that as well, he's not a perfect man, and I don't think you would have, if you had come across him before me, given it to him. He's not even a good man I suppose but.." There's a shrug, smallest of shrugs that runs through her shoulders, parka rising then falling. "He's always there for me. I suppose that's why I was surprised, that he did it. Not so much that he did what he did to you"

"People like us are doomed to give people second chances. You were not surprised what he did to me?" There's certainly a little in Francois' tone, the slope of his forehead crinkling in mild consternation as he regards her, coffee cooling neglected in his hand. He glances down at where she stomps her feet, and a suggestion that they give up the post and go inside is on the tip of his tongue, but melts as quickly as a snowflake might when he says, instead, "You deserve a good man."

"It talks to him, bosses him around wearing you're voice and persona, so no, no I wasn't that surprised" She's not budging, the stomp is prevenative, not curative.

"Of course everyone thinks I deserve a good man. Only god knows, he alone, what kind of man I will end up with" Now she looks over at Francois, cheeks pink with the cool air. "I don't think I'm meant for marriage and children and all that. Teodoro says I was, that I had two children, I buried a husband and that I was more than I am now with Flint but, Teodoro, the version of him that did some temporal changing, I think he changed that. Changed that for here. But then I used to think that I was meant to keep doing gods work forever"

Who is Francois to be confused about time travel? Or at least to question it. Which he doesn't do, at least. "Ah," he opts to respond with, vaguely swirling around the coffee in his cup before taking a lengthy sip of it, giving himself time to process, align those facts into sense. "I would suggest that no one is truly meant for anything. Except that I was only meant to give you my gift and I'm glad I did not accidentally— " He gestures vaguely. "The course of history. I have buried people before, I can understand not wanting to do that yourself. Perhaps— "

His head tilts, and he allows her a rueful smile, lines at his eyes deepening along with it. "I can try and reserve my judgment of him until I meet him again? If that is something you would like."

"I don't know what I would like these days Francois. I sorta, live each day one at a time lately since.. well since a lot of stuff happened. But, maybe you should. Sometimes, first impressions are … not the only impressions that a person should get yes?" Someone receives greater scrutiny as they come into view but are dismissed. Too young.

"I should leave you be, see what else needs doing. I should start getting a medical pack going with supplies, or if our vaulted hosts have something for me to start looking over in that regards." Abigail reaches up to scratch at a blonde eyebrow.

"Thank you, for that day in the woods, and passing it on. I dunno how much of it shaped me, made me who I am, but.. what you did that day made me feel closer to god. Something i'm lacking a bit these days"

Francois nods, once, that she is setting up to leave him be. He almost offers to be taken away from his chilly post at the university, tag along at her heels as he'd done so reliably for the first couple of days in 2009, but ultimately— there is enough reason for him to be out here. He glances back towards the white walls of the campus buildings, drawing in a breath that comes out again as curling steam, no cigarette required.

"You're welcome. Thank you for taking me out of the woods," he says, a hand moving to touch above her elbow, to kiss her cheek in a parting kind of gesture.

It's returned, lips pressed to cheek in a fleeting gesture as Abigail's arms slide past the touch at her elbow to envelope the timetraveler in a stiff hug. She's still tender, give her a few more days. "You need us to pick you up, call okay? Or more coffee. You know, you're a lot better than your not so analog version sitting in my friend" Friend, not lover or boyfriend. Friend. A kiss pressed to the other cheek and her hands settling on the straps of her backpacks, she turns away so she can start heading back to the car.

"Okay." The hug is returned, as mindful as she is cautious. "You know, I almost want to meet it," is good humoured enough, if entirely a lie. There is nothing in this world Francois would rather not meet, flimsy curiousity having to fight repulsion and, to be honest, fear. He watches her go for as long as it takes for her to be thoroughly out of call back distance, before Francois expels a pent up breath, and resumes his watch on the university doors.

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